Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ginger-Cinnamon Tea (Sujungwa or Sujeongwa)

This is the Korean equivalent to Sweet Tea.  Not only is it refreshing and delicious, but it is quite healthy.  Ginger has many health benefits as does cinnamon and honey.  Many Koreans think of this drink as a health tonic.  I just remember drinking this when I was young and always loving this sweet, spicy and fragrant treat. 
This is quite sweet, but it should be served over lots of ice, which tends to dilute it.  You can always add less honey if you prefer. 

Ginger Cinnamon Tea with Dried Persimmons

1 cup peeled and thinly sliced ginger
10-12 cinnamon sticks
2 cups honey or honey powder
5 dried persimmons
4 quarts water (16 cups)
Toasted pine nuts

Peel a large knob of ginger (this is easily done with a spoon) and slice thinly.  You should have about 1 cup.
Bring ginger, cinnamon sticks and water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off heat and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
Add honey or honey powder.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain into a large bowl or container.
Cool to room temperature
Clean persimmons and remove the hard stem
Put dried persimmons in the bottom of a glass pitcher or container and pour the tea over it. 
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  This will keep in the refrigerator for approximately 3 to 4 days.
To serve, pour over lots of ice and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over it.

Peel ginger with a spoon
Slice thin

Strain into a bowl
Dried persimmons can be found at Korean grocery stores

Sprinkle with pine nuts

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Spam Musubi

A lunchbox favorite with my children, this easy dish is delicious, inexpensive to make, and quick to disappear.  A Spam musubi mold makes life easier, but it's not absolutely necessary.  I have seen this made with a Spam can that has been cut on both ends, and it can also be done with a simple sushi rolling mat.  The molds are inexpensive and can be ordered through Amazon. 

Spam Musubi:

2 cups of short-grain rice, cooked according to your rice cooker's instructions (brown rice can be used)
1 can of Spam (I use low sodium)
4 sheets of nori, cut in half lengthwise
Soy sauce

Get your workstation ready by laying out a stack of nori, a bowl of cooked rice, a small bowl of water (to dip the top of the musubi mold into so the rice doesn't stick)
Slice Spam in approximate 1/4-inch slices, this should give you about 8 equal pieces
Brown in skillet
Sprinkle one side with a little sugar (approximately 1/4 teaspoon, but I just eyeball it)
Drizzle each piece with a little soy sauce
Place the pan of cooked Spam near your workstation
Lay out one piece of nori, place the tube portion of your musubi mold in the center
Put approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice into the mold
Wet the top of the mold and then press down on the rice, to make it flat and even inside the mold
Place a slice of Spam in the mold on top of the first rice layer
Put another 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice in mold, and flatten again with the top which has been dipped in water again.
With the top still pushing down on the top layer of rice, lift up the tube portion
Starting at the bottom of the nori, fold it up over the rice and Spam
Roll until it is completely covered and then seal the end by rubbing a cooked grain of rice along the edge to act as the "glue"
When all of the Spam musubi have been assembled, slice into four even pieces

Sheets of nori

Cut in half (easiest to use a sharp pair of scissors)

Slice your Spam

Fry it up

Sprinkle with sugar

Drizzle with soy sauce

Get everything ready in your workstation


Then you can fill up a cute little bento box and send it off, or better yet, just eat them right then and there:)

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